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Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announces he will not run in upcoming election

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Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced Wednesday he will not run in the nation's upcoming elections, its fifth vote in three years. File Pool Photo by Maya Alleruzzo/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/28fb888fbdedcff4ce0bee803dde096a/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced Wednesday he will not run in the nation's upcoming elections, its fifth vote in three years. File Pool Photo by Maya Alleruzzo/UPI | License Photo

June 29 (UPI) -- Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Wednesday announced he will not run in the nation's next parliamentary election.

Bennett also announced that Ayelet Shaked, his number two in the Yamina Party, would lead the party as Israel holds its fifth election in three years.

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In his farewell address, Bennett said he would continue to serve the country as "the State of Israel is the love of my life" and called for a broad and representative government.

"Only together we will win," he said. "Let's respect each other instead of hating."

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Bennett will remain alternate prime minister in the interim period as he hands over the premiership of the coalition.

Bennett and Lapid decided earlier this month to dissolve the Knesset and call for new elections as they struggle to uphold their fragile coalition that ended former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's reign last year.

Bennett said that the coalition achieved "more than what other governments did in a full term," an apparent reference to Netanyahu's government.

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"We proved that people with different opinions can work together. No one needs to give up on his opinions, but it is definitely possible and even necessary to put aside, for the time being, ideological arguments and take care of the economy, security and future of the State of Israel," Bennett said. "We proved that there is a shared good."

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The decision to dissolve the Knesset jeopardizes the deal that would have seen Lapid succeed Bennett as prime minister and opens an avenue for Netanyahu to form an alternative government in the current Knesset.

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